Weekly Wrap Pt 1: Beckham/CSL, Sina/PGA, Red Bull/CBA, F1/no one…

Beckham to take up CSL role

Becks doing what he does best

China may have lost out in the recent David Beckham sweepstakes, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. According to the Beijing Youth Daily, Beckham will become an international ambassador for the Chinese Super League, beginning this season.

Becks has been invited to the season’s opening ceremony on March 8, which he is unlikely to attend, given that his new team Paris St. Germain play Valencia in the Champions League on March 7 (a game that will finish in the early hours of March 8, China time).

But even though he has no discernible connection to the league and won’t be at the ceremony, he’ll still be the league’s ambassador! Yay!

UPDATE: For Beckham latest, see here.

Sina extends PGA Tour partnership

Chinese golfing prodigy, 14-year-old Guan Tianlang

Golf is a sport that is set to explode in China and internet giant Sina wants in on the action. The US-based PGA Tour has agreed a three-year extension to its existing agreement with Sina to produce and manage its Chinese-language website, an arrangement that began in 2008. Mandarin-language mobile and tablet apps are also expected later this year.

Sina will also simulcast online 12 live PGA Tour tournaments every year, though the first of those – this week’s World Match Play Championship in Arizona – has seen snow hamper progress, not to mention flagging interest after both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were sent packing in the first round.

F1 viewing figures slumping in China

Lots and lots of cars, fewer and fewer fans to watch them

If golf is set to explode, F1 could be going the other way. Despite Ferrari recently signing F1’s first ever Chinese sponsor, viewing figures in China fell by 34% – or 25 million viewers – last year, with the drop blamed on scheduling clashes with other local sports events. That could be true, but it could just as easily be flagging interest, or at least a combination of both.

That still leaves 48.9 million F1 viewers in the world’s most populous country, but the trend has to have F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone worried. Or perhaps not. F1’s entire global TV rights income is thought to be roughly equal to that of the Turkish football Premier League – around $490m – so you have to figure that Bernie isn’t too concerned with maximizing F1’s profits.

Maybe the answer is to get a few Chinese “pay drivers” bankrolling some teams. At the very least, it would boost viewing figures here if the famously patriotic Chinese fans have someone to cheer for.

Three Points for Red Bull

Red Bull is partnering with the CBA to sponsor the All-Star weekend’s Three-Point Shoot-out. The event takes place on the first day of the weekend and will see all the usual sponsorship benefits: branding on LED boards, medal ceremony backdrop, players’ jerseys, the ball cart, logo on event program, tickets and website, plus, one assumes, unlimited Red Bull for anyone and everyone in attendance.

In the absence of T-Mac, Marbury is this weekend’s star attraction

Note to overseas readers: Red Bull in China is flat. I repeat, Red Bull here has no carbonation. Very odd.

For Part 2 of this week’s Weekly Wrap, see here.

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